Quality in Down club scene ideal preparation for county theatre states Mourne stalwart Benny McArdle
THE hammer-and-tongs quality of the Down club scene should leave the Mourne county team well gotten ready for back-to-back battles in the League and Championship, says skilled full-back Benny McArdle.
Down resume Division 3 action identified to drive on to promotion by winning their staying fixtures versus bottom two Leitrim and Louth prior to turning their focus to what McArdle explains as a “smash and get” Ulster Championship campaign which starts versus Fermanagh.
McArdle thinks that success in the very first might supply a springboard to more in the sprint for the Anglo-Celt Cup which Down’s competitive club environment is ideal preparation for both.
” To get an opportunity to finish out the League project with those last 2 games is great,” said the knowledgeable protector.
” There is a scattering of youth coming through in Down and the younger people are setting brand-new requirements so if we can get up to Division 2 with those brand-new people who are coming in it would be a fantastic assistance for them.
” If we can get promotion then an Ulster Champion ends up being a possibility. It’ll be ‘smash and get’ where you’re entering and none of the teams really have any type and I believe Down football is in a strong-enough location to get us all set for that.
” I think it’s one of the better club championships and I believe you’ll find that the Down gamers will be in a good place come October. The club scene is really strong. The upper-end with Kilcoo, Mayobridge, Burren, Bryansford … they are all strong teams that might take on anybody.”
Kilcoo – the Ulster club champions and last year’s All-Ireland finalists – have shown that point and McArdle is positive that Down can be a match for any of their Ulster competitors on their day.
Last season they fought back to come close to beating Armagh before the Orchard county won a thriller in extra-time and also ran Mayo close in Newry in the Qualifiers.
” That’s something about Down,” he stated: “If we can get things to click it can happen very rapidly.
” It happened under Eamonn Burns three years ago. Things simply seemed to click and we got to an Ulster final. That’s what everyone is betting, we hope we can do that once again.”
Now 33, McArdle – whose other half recently offered birth to their very first child Daniel – admits he is on a “rolling contract” and is in “reward area” however he is enjoying his football as much as ever and in the past returning to county action he will focus on club football with Annaclone.
” Whenever we returned to the club that initially week it was so rejuvenating to get back at it,” he said.
” What the GAA has actually done in prioritising the club is the ideal move and it’s excellent to be back, we have a brand-new manager in (former gamer John Haughey) so we’re hopeful of providing the intermediate championship a run. We’ll see how we’re discussing these first 3 league games and after that go into it.
” It’s all going to come onto us really rapidly and I believe it has given a team like us more of a possibility. There’s no kind, no team will have type entering into it so we are optimistic, we’ll see how it goes.
” We literally have no concept we’re at. Some boys returned fitter after the lockdown and after that you have the opposite end of the spectrum as well.
” We’ve been playing training video games and they’re feisty adequate however we’ll not know where we’re at exactly up until we’ve played a couple of games. You could discover that you’re flying or you could realise that you’re miles off it.”